Five Questions to Ask Before Moving to Iraq
1. ARE YOU CRAZY?
After all, this is the first question anyone else will ask you. So you had better be sure of the answer. Some of us answer yes, some of us answer no. But we do realize you have to be just a little bit odd to even want to move to Iraq.
2. What will your parents think?
Parents are important. They brought you into the world and they not only deserve your respect but you are commanded to honor them. You also really need their support. That said, parents can be convinced by truth and the Holy Spirit. Hesitation or resistance are common at first, but many parents are willing to trust their children to God and support them in the calling they’ve been given. Don’t give up before you’ve even broached the subject.
3. How flexible are you?
Does your whole world fall apart if you don’t get 8 hours of sleep every night? Do you live off of quinoa, baby kale, and vegan soy chorizo? Do you plan every moment of every day and feel like a failure if you don’t keep the schedule? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you probably aren’t cut out for life in the Middle East, yet. Some of us used to be perfectionists when we moved to Iraq, but the culture smoothed off our sharp corners and we learned to adapt. But really, you must be prepared to let go of everything: electricity, water, internet, knowing whether or not you’re are going to teach tomorrow (last minute holidays are a thing).
4. How resilient are you?
Your students will know how to push your buttons; they are observant like that. When they’ve asked the same question five times in a row will you lose your temper? What about if the kids just won’t stop talking… in a language you can’t understand… and then laugh at you? Can you function with no coffee, a freezing cold shower in winter, and no lights in your classroom… with a smile?
5. Do you want to be more than a teacher?
Sure, you can teach a kid to diagram a sentence or conquer long division. But you could also be the person they come to with bigger problems. You could walk with them through failed friendships and family issues. Help them navigate the murky waters of teenagedom and the internet. You could learn to laugh with them over the oddities of cultural differences. How invested do you want to be?
So how did you do? Were these easy questions? Maybe a bit tough? Does moving to Iraq feel absolutely impossible? Or maybe intriguing? Let us know if you have questions of your own!